Harry Potter and The Chambers of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Rated it: 4 stars

Read count: 2

Harry Potter’s second year at Hogwarts preluded with an unexpected visit from a most unlikely creature, Dobby the house elf, who brought with him ominous tidings and a warning not to attend the wizarding institution for his own good. Despite Dobby’s numerous interventions Harry with the help Ron, and his twin brothers, escaped not only Privet Drive but the duo also worked around the block barrier of Platform 9 & 3/4 in a most interesting fashion.

The plot is centered around the legend of the Chamber of Secrets and the Hier of Slytherin who has not only access to it but also the beast that resides within. It officially began with the first victim Mrs. Norris, the caretaker Filch’s cat, who was found hung petrified by her tail in the halls next to a chilling message scrawled on the wall in red lettering.

During an implemented dueling lesson led by the woefully incompetent and absolutely rank git Gilderoy Lockhart, latest DADA professor, an incident involving Harry, Draco Malfoy and Ernie Macmillan led most of the student body to suspect that Harry was the Hier. Where Voldemort fits into this? That’s an excellent question.

All the signs were there but I, like most I imagine, was too anxious and curious to take the time to analyze much in my first reading. Subtle hints, such sneaky writing has never delighted me and at the same time invoked a sense of sadness before.

Continue reading “Harry Potter and The Chambers of Secrets by J.K. Rowling”

Why do you read?

An old shelfie

I’m curious, are many of you readers? By readers I mean do you read to live? Is it essential as the air you breathe?

If yes, to read to live isn’t the answer to my question though. Is it an escape from reality? A quest for knowledge and empathy?

These dead leaves and digitalized words open portals to other worlds that allow us to experience life as we’ve never known it. They keep ignorance at bay and encourage us to open our eyes to notice the world around us, to make you wonder “Who around me is going through pain and suffering and are they’re hiding it?”

If anything, they are our stout companions in our hour of loneliness and trouble. My reasons for reading are included above but I’ll list them properly:

  • to understand the choices people make and how they live with them
  • to learn as much as I can about foreign vistas without all the travel
  • to not be alone
  • to be informed
  • to become a better writer Continue reading “Why do you read?”

A case of split identity

I have serious shit to do, like work stuff with real consequences and do you know what I’m doing?

Guess. Take a wild one.

I think perhaps some of you know. When the deadline approaches like when Dean Winchester grabs pie … I procrastinate aggressively. I’ve gone and made myself yet another side blog, and I’m not talking about the writing one I made last month.

This one is purely for serious thought not related to books. But HC&B has been my base for six years now and spreading out content (of any nature) away from this blog tears at my mind little by little, yet I go and do it all over again.

*frustrated scream*

It’s not as if I have the f*cking time. There’s no problem with compartmentalizing overall, I guess. It’s me running a marathon with a fire on my head. I do not have good impulse control when it matters the most.

Therefore, it’s time for drastic measures. I’m enlisting one of my sisters to help me put all my books in storage, leaving my desk bereft and glaring. I’ve tried this in the past, goodness knows how I tried, but never quite managed to not leave a book. I’m fed up with myself is what I am.

I’ll just have to survive.

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

Via Goodreads

Rated it: 4 stars

Read: October of 2016

SPOILERS IF YOU HAVENT READ THE OTHER PJO BOOKS.

We’ve met the glorious Apollo in the first Percy Jackson books, with his good-natured arrogance (if that’s a thing), and is basically full of himself and selfish but benevolent about it. After the fiasco in Blood of Olympus, Zeus had to find someone to blame and Apollo happened to be the perfect scapegoat, brought him down to earth. Literally, the dude landed in a dumpster in New York.

There he met a ferocious garbage wielding twelve-year-old demigoddess Meg. If you recall towards the end of the last series the Oracle of Delphi was silenced, therefore prophecy was cut off, meaning no quests.

Somehow connected to it all an ancient power that is slipping out of the shadows from which they’d lurked during the Second Titan War and the waking of Gaia. It is up to Apollo and Meg to reclaim the Oracle, of course with the help of our favourite demigods!

The most satisfying part of it all was Apollo’s character progression. I’d known it was unlikely Apollo was that oblivious after four thousand years. He had had his share of pain and regrets that still weighed on him, it was much easier to live beneath this mask of perfection, good cheer and narcism and some willful ignorance.

However his unwelcomed mortality opened his eyes to all those he took for granted, it made space for true fear, more searing remorse and … appreciation for the sacrifices of others. Continue reading “The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan”

Halp, can’t read me books

I’m clenching my teeth as I type this. It’s April. April, for goodness sake and I haven’t got one book read. Well, that’s not true if you count the two volumes of the stellar webcomic OMG Check Please by the one and only Ngozi Ukazu (you guys can’t tell right now but this comic brings me to tears. Tears of pure joy. Like I’m literally tearing up at this moment because I just saw her latest episode and ugh! Check this shit out.)

Just a sample of my TBR box.

Ahem. As I was saying, that would technically be *squints* two books. Last year was a decent year at seventeen books (shadow reads are not counted *blushes*). Now, that count doesn’t sound very hot but it’s all quality over quantity and I realized maybe that’s what’s been putting me back on this year’s quota of a modest 18 books. What I’m going on about is that I’d decided I should be reading more non-fiction this year and I’ve started to take notes too. When I was going through Susan Cain’s Quiet (btw, I didn’t finish) I was beginning to see how little I was assimilating what I was pouring over, hence a special notebook for that stuff.

That’s all and good but I … *sighs* I am officially an adult now so I have work, but I daydream waaaay too much and I procrastinate which eventually means I’m chasing my own ass finish stuff. Naturally, the only time I can read is late at night but since there’s a lights out policy at home I can only read on Kindle. And that brings up two other problems 1) the books I want to read aren’t digital so I need light and 2) and when I do read on the thing I’m a cranky mad woman the next day.

But my current problem is more pressing. I can’t read anything proper. I have a decent to-be-read pile with some interesting choices *sighs sadly* I can’t … read. Continue reading “Halp, can’t read me books”

Book review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Rated it: 5 stars

I reread this gem last year and the feels are still incredibly strong. Long story short this is a coming of age story of teenager Aristotle (told entirely in his point of view) during the 1980s set in El Paso, Texas, and spans two years.

The summer was hot and humid, the rain was like a veil into different emotional dimension I kid you not. And the birds, well they were there crapping on people in a real way. Oh, just read the thing and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s raining as I’m writing, and usually when it does I’m reminded of my summer boys.

And I’ll be straight with you, dear readers, this is a novel I cannot formulate a coherent sentences worthy of a decent review so I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for this mass of fangirl babble. Ari was at the awkward age where he’s coming to terms that his body is changing, he’s occupied with thoughts of his veteran father who’s in another world most of the time. Added to that he’s somewhat obsessed with an older brother who he barely remembers. 

He meets the soft spoken and bookish Dante (one of the cinnamon-iest cinnamon roll I’ve read so far) one day at the pool. A loner by choice, Ari begins to find his company an education.

The friendship that grows between these two … it’s simple yet it’s not. For better or for worse they change each other. Simply by being there they challenged themselves with facing the hard questions, the kind of questions that makes them realize just how vast and painfully tangible the universe possibly is.

What I loved

  • Sáenz didn’t mince words, let me tell you. When I first read it I was confused and uncomfortable but then I got it. This was Ari’s voice: raw, undiluted and straightforward. Also the writing gets poetic, which I expect from a book with a guy named Aristotle in it. Not that he’s poetic. Hmm, well he does get poetic but he doesn’t think he is.
  • Ari. I like him. A lot. Full of angsty pubescent emotions, foul mouthed (as much as a fifteen year old can be in YA), a natural born smart ass, and an actual decent human being. Cute too, did I mention?
  • Dante, another smarty pants. He’s the yin to Ari’s yang. Gentle, fierce, kind and forever curious. If I recall correctly, he has identity issues with his Mexian ancestry, having not been immersed in it as much as Ari. He’s terribly brave when it comes down to it.
  • The parents Continue reading “Book review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz”